On the eve of their departure for the Cricket World Cup, Proteas captain Faf du Plessis said it was vital his team realise that the cricket they have been playing in winning their last five series will fit the bill at the tournament and they don’t have to try and strive for something extra special to break South Africa’s drought in the sport’s most prestigious event.
Asked what lessons Du Plessis would take from the 2015 World Cup, when the Proteas bowed out in the semi-finals, he said the team then had felt like they needed to produce a superhuman effort in order to end their miserable record at the tournament, which had ultimately been counter-productive.
“We believed you had to be really special to win the World Cup, that you had to do something more than you usually do, which is not true. Whatever we’ve been doing consistently, the way we’ve played while beating teams, that will work. We have to do the basics as well as possible, teams don’t win the World Cup by someone scoring a century off 50 balls or taking seven for 20.
“In previous World Cups, we wanted to do Superman things, we thought we had to be more special, we had to do something more than we usually do, and we did not do what was good enough before. We haven’t always got that right in the past, to play our best cricket at the World Cup, because we put so much pressure on ourselves. We want to just focus on enjoying our cricket,” Du Plessis said on Saturday.
Du Plessis said he and coach Ottis Gibson have been driving a focus on mental preparation which has brought dividends for the skipper’s own game as he has averaged over 60 in each of the last three years, scoring five centuries.
“We started a year or two ago with a real focus on mental preparation and, as a captain, I probably speak more about that than previous captains, but I really believe it’s an area we can get better in. I’ve been there and I know the pressures, I understand how to deal with them. There’s a reason why we want the guys to play freely – because we don’t want them to have a fear of failure, which is what the World Cup is for some of them. Our success in England over the next couple of months depends on how well we release that aspect of our play – we need that for the team to be at our best. Each player needs to find out his own strengths.
“The players relate better to fellow players and I’m on the same level as the coach when it comes to the importance of the mental side. I’m a big believer in positive visualisation, how to remain calm, and I feel it has had value for my own game. So I can relate that to the players, how important it is to be present in the moment; for instance when there’s been a dropped catch, there’s nothing you can do about it and it’s about how you change your mindset to make sure you are still strong mentally,” Du Plessis said.
Source link : https://citizen.co.za/sport/south-african-sport/sa-cricket-sport/cricket-world-cup-2019/2132291/faf-we-dont-need-to-be-superheroes-in-england/
Publish date : 2019-05-18 14:21:00